WE-B-207-01: CT Lung Cancer Screening and the Medical Physicist: Background, Findings and Participant Dosimetry Summary of the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST)



The US National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) was a multi-center randomized, controlled trial comparing a low-dose CT (LDCT) to posterior-anterior (PA) chest x-ray (CXR) in screening older, current and former heavy smokers for early detection of lung cancer. Recruitment was launched in September 2002 and ended in April 2004 when 53,454 participants had been randomized at 33 screening sites in equal proportions. Funded by the National Cancer Institute this trial demonstrated that LDCT screening reduced lung cancer mortality. The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) cited NLST findings and conclusions in its deliberations and analysis of lung cancer screening. Under the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the USPSTF favorable recommendation regarding lung cancer CT screening assisted in obtaining third-party payers coverage for screening.

The objective of this session is to provide an introduction to the NLST and the trial findings, in addition to a comprehensive review of the dosimetry investigations and assessments completed using individual NLST participant CT and CXR examinations. Session presentations will review and discuss the findings of two independent assessments, a CXR assessment and the findings of a CT investigation calculating individual organ dosimetry values. The CXR assessment reviewed a total of 73,733 chest x-ray exams that were performed on 92 chest imaging systems of which 66,157 participant examinations were used. The CT organ dosimetry investigation collected scan parameters from 23,773 CT examinations; a subset of the 75,133 CT examinations performed using 97 multi-detector CT scanners. Organ dose conversion coefficients were calculated using a Monte Carlo code. An experimentally-validated CT scanner simulation was coupled with 193 adult hybrid computational phantoms representing the height and weight of the current U.S. population. The dose to selected organs was calculated using the organ dose library and the abstracted scan parameters.

This session will review the results and summarize the individualized doses to major organs and the mean effective dose and CTDIvol estimate for 66,157 PA chest and 23,773 CT examinations respectively, using size-dependent computational phantoms coupled with Monte Carlo calculations.

Learning Objectives:

  • 1.Review and summarize relevant NLST findings and conclusions.
  • 2.Understand the scope and scale of the NLST specific to participant dosimetry.
  • 3.Provide a comprehensive review of NLST participant dosimetry assessments.
  • 4.Summarize the results of an investigation providing individualized organ dose estimates for NLST participant cohorts.